Local artist Marianne Harris shows off her mock-up acrylic paintings that are similar to the pieces that won her the Alberta Art Battle competition. Harris is set to face off against 20 artists from across Canada in the national championship in Toronto in just a few weeks.

Local artist Marianne Harris shows off her mock-up acrylic paintings that are similar to the pieces that won her the Alberta Art Battle competition. Harris is set to face off against 20 artists from across Canada in the national championship in Toronto in just a few weeks.

Local artist wins speed painting competition

Speed, skill, showmanship — and a large dollop of creativity ­— led Red Deer artist Marianne Harris to the top spot of Art Battle Alberta.

Speed, skill, showmanship — and a large dollop of creativity ­— led Red Deer artist Marianne Harris to the top spot of Art Battle Alberta.

Harris beat 11 artistic competitors from Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer and Olds to become the provincial champ at Friday’s speed painting competition at Festival Hall. This means she gets to face off against 20 artists from across Canada at the 2014 Art Battle Finals in Toronto on July 26 at the former Maple Leaf Gardens.

“I was shocked,” said Harris, to win both rounds of an Alberta competition that required completing two paintings in 20 minutes each in front of roving spectators. The artworks were later auctioned off.

“The crowd kept circling around, and you’d hear people’s comments, but you had to stay pretty focused,” recalled Harris. She had a plan of what kind of paintings she would do, but was not allowed to bring any reference material to the competition. Since even the acrylic paints and canvases were supplied, “the only thing you could bring is brushes,” she added.

During the preliminary round, Harris got into the fun spirit of the event by dancing to the music as she readied to paint.

She started out by applying an abstract red, blue and white background to the canvas, and at the last minute, surprised the audience by adding a stylized human figure.

“My husband was listening to feedback from the crowd and he said, ‘I think you’ve got a pretty good chance,’” said Harris. She was nonetheless pleasantly surprised to win this first round and landed a spot in the final round.

Harris’ provincial championship-winning second painting was a “semi-realistic” landscape that started with a green background and yellow highlights that resembled northern lights.

She sketched in a dark horizon with some tree shapes as well as tall grasses in the foreground and used the edge of a credit card to scratch in details — a crowd-pleasing move. Harris said she finally made the painting “pop” with orange highlights.

The audience was in suspense as to her subject matter until Harris had added enough brush strokes to fill in the landscape.

“They had no idea, until I added the details, of the final outcome” — which probably helped her win, she said.

Harris never expected a victory, since she was only at the Art Battle Alberta event to fill in for another artist, who had to bow out due to a funeral. Harris had not competed in the May qualifier for this competition, which raised funds for the Nuit Blanche open-air arts and culture festival, to be held in downtown Red Deer on Sept. 10.

However, she did participate in a previous Art Battle, staged last September to benefit the Mavis Goss Foundation for cancer research. Harris didn’t win the 2013 event, but got a good sense of what was needed for the competition.

“You have to draw on your skills and experience, your sense of composition, your lights and darks and other elements of design.”

The medical transcriptionist for Alberta Health Services began creating art in the mid 1980s after a doctor acquaintance encouraged her to take workshops and to join the Edmonton Art Club.

Harris, who has three sons and two step-daughters, joined the Red Deer Art Club after moving here 12 years ago, and has continued to hone her multi-faceted talents in watercolour, acrylic and mixed media through short-term classes and workshops.

She now sells her eclectic paintings in diverse styles, ranging from realistic to abstract, and also teaches art out of Paintwerx Studios, located in her home in the Pines.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Marcus Golczyk, with Taco Monster, hands food to a customer during Food Truck Drive and Dash in the Westerner Park parking lot in Red Deer Friday afternoon. The drive-thru event will run every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through June. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff
Food Truck Fridays, Food Truck Drive and Dash return in Red Deer

Red Deerians are able to take in a drive-thru food truck experience… Continue reading

Don and Gloria Moore, of Red Deer, are set to celebrate their 70th anniversary later this month. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer couple to celebrate 70th anniversary

Red Deer couple Don and Gloria Moore are set to celebrate their… Continue reading

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault chairs a premiers virtual news conference as premiers John Horgan, B.C., Jason Kenney, Alberta, and Scott Moe, Saskatchewan, are seen onscreen, Thursday, March 4, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Several provinces bring in new restrictions as high COVID-19 case numbers persist

Several provinces are gearing up to tighten public health measures once again… Continue reading

Members of the RCAF take part in a Royal Canadian Air Force change of command ceremony in Ottawa on Friday, May 4, 2018. The Royal Canadian Air Force is hoping Canada will open its doors to military pilots from other countries as it seeks to address a longstanding shortage of experienced aviators. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
RCAF turns to foreign pilots to help with shortage as commercial aviators stay away

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Air Force is hoping Canada will open… Continue reading

An arrivals and departures information screen is seen at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Halifax on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. The chief executive of Atlantic Canada's largest airport is hoping for COVID-19 testing for arriving passengers "sooner rather than later," as an added measure to combat the province's third wave of the virus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Halifax airport CEO hopes for more on-site COVID testing ‘sooner rather than later’

HALIFAX — The chief executive of Atlantic Canada’s largest airport is hoping… Continue reading

Shoppers wear mask as they shop at a nursery & garden shop on Mother's Day weekend during COVID-19 pandemic in Wilmette, Ill., Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Tearful reunions mark second Mother’s Day under pandemic

Last Mother’s Day, they celebrated with bacon and eggs over FaceTime. This… Continue reading

Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet, standing, watches the game during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. The Wild won 5-2. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
Tocchet won’t return as coach of Coyotes after 4 seasons

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes and coach Rick Tocchet have mutually… Continue reading

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella shouts at an official after a fight between Columbus Blue Jackets' s Gavin Bayreuther and Florida Panthers' Sam Bennett during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, April 19, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Tortorella out after 6 years as Columbus Blue Jackets coach

COLUMBUS, Ohio — John Tortorella is out as coach of the Columbus… Continue reading

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada's vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel's approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

JASPER, Alta. — A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing… Continue reading

The smouldering remains of houses in Slave Lake, Alta., are seen in a May 16, 2011, file photo. The wildfire that is devastating large swaths of the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray comes just five years after another blaze destroyed 400 buildings and left 2,000 people homeless in Slave Lake, Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Jackson
Ten years later: Five things to know about the Slave Lake wildfire

A wildfire burned about one-third of Slave Lake in northern Alberta in… Continue reading

Most Read